The cross-country flight had originated at 1045 that morning from Scott City, Kan., Municipal Airport (TQK). The 35-year-old pilot filed IFR and the trip proceeded normally under instrument conditions until it reached the Topeka area. At 1153, the METAR for TOP was wind, 010 deg. at 9 kt.; visibility, 10 sm; ceiling, 500 ft. overcast; temperature, 55F; dew point, 53 deg.; altimeter, 29.64 — with the following remark: variable ceiling height, 400 to 800 ft.
An hour later — at 1253 — TOP reported wind, 340 deg. magnetic at 5 kt.; visibility, 6 sm with light rain; ceiling, 700 ft. overcast; temperature, 55F; dew point, 53 deg.; altimeter, 29.65.
At 1146, the pilot checked in with Kansas Center and the controller cleared the airplane to descend to 5,000 ft. MSL. The pilot then asked the controller what runway was in use at TOP, and the controller responded that Runway 31was active and that TOP was broadcasting for the back course localizer approach. The controller then asked if the pilot wanted vectors to the approach, and the pilot said that he did.
At 1156:56, the center controller contacted Topeka tower and informed them that the Baron would be 4 mi. south of UJASA, a radar-established intersection on the final approach course, in 4 min.
At 1200:05, the center controller informed the pilot that he was 6 mi. south of UJASA and to fly a heading of 340 deg. to intercept the inbound radial for the approach. The pilot acknowledged the heading.
At 1200:28, the controller cleared the pilot for the approach.
At 1202:35, the center controller informed the pilot that he had flown through the radial and asked if the pilot showed himself establishing on the inbound course? The pilot responded, “I'm working it . . .”
The controller then gave the pilot another heading to intercept the radial. The pilot responded, acknowledging the heading.
At 1205:40, the controller contacted Topeka tower and informed them that the airplane had flown through the radial and was 6 mi. south of the airport. The tower controller acknowledged.